While this non-alcoholic drink made from fermented mealie pap may go by many different names, Mageu (Setswana), Mahewu (Shona), Mahleu (Sesotho), Magau (Khoikhoi), Mahewu (Xhosa) or amaHewu (Zulu and Northern Ndebele), one thing remains the same – this traditional drink is a firm favourite in millions of South African homes.

According to Bhavna Sanker, SPAR BRAND Promotions and Advertising Manager, Mageu’s unique, slightly sour taste comes from the lactic acid. She adds however that commercial versions of the drink are often flavoured, sweetened and contain vitamins and minerals.

“Apart from it being a tasty drink, Mageu has also been used as a lunch meal replacement by working-class South Africans for years, mostly due to its reasonable price and satiating qualities,” Bhanva explains.

But, does this starch-loaded beverage have any real health benefits?

Bhavna says that there are 4 surprising benefits of adding Mageu in your diet, including the fact that it is:

Packed with vitamins and minerals: 

Mageu contains an army of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9) and minerals (electrolytic iron and zinc oxide) that are essential for good health. Vitamin A (makes strong bones, reproductive and immune systems); Vitamin B1 (converts food into energy and increases the power of your immune system); Vitamin B2 (boosts the production of red blood cells, keeps you younger for longer and helps your heart stay strong); Vitamin B3 (lowers cholesterol, eases arthritis, and boosts brain function); Vitamin B6 (improves moods and sleep, and helps your body function better); Vitamin B9 (converts food into fuel for energy and helps the body to use fats and protein).

A source of energy

As a source of good carbohydrates, Mageu can give your body a quick jolt of energy when you need it most; getting you fired up in the morning or helping you over a mid-day slump.

Low in sodium: 

According to the World Health Organisation, salt intake of less than 5 grams per day for adults helps to reduce blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and coronary heart attack. Mageu is very low in sodium, containing only 11 milligrams per 100ml.

Mostly allergen free: 

Mageu is nut-, soy- and egg-free, and with no artificial sweeteners. It does however contain wheat and is not suitable for those with a gluten intolerance.

Bhavna says that this month SPAR is harnessing the goodness of Mageu and has stepped up to the plate by joining hands with their customers to make a difference in their communities with their One 4 You, One 4 Me’ campaign. “SPAR has a culture of caring – we’re not in the grocery business, we’re in the people business, and that’s why during October customers can purchase any two SPAR Mageu 1L products for just R22, and then pop one carton into the trolley at the front of every store. At the end of the campaign, stores will give all donated stock to local charities in need of this nutritious product. In addition, SPAR will donate R1.50 for every carton sold during this campaign period to Operation Hunger.”

“SPAR has a culture of caring – we’re not in the grocery business, we’re in the people business

Mageu is a quick and easy on-the-go meal option that packs a nutritional punch. SPAR Mageu is available in SPAR stores nationwide, in the chilled beverage department. It’s available in 500ml, 1L and 2L sizes, in the following varieties: Amabele (sorghum); Pineapple; Banana; Creamy; and Strawberry.